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Queen Mum mourners continue vigil

LONDON, England -- Ten of thousands of people are continuing to shrug off the cold in London to pay their respects to the Queen Mother whose coffin is lying in state.

By 9 a.m. (0800 GMT) on Sunday, the queue was almost two miles long with those at the back facing a wait of up to nine hours.

It was a repeat of the situation on Saturday when an estimated 50,000 waited an average of seven hours to file past the coffin in Westminster Hall.

As a result of the public interest, access will be allowed to view the lying in state until Tuesday morning, it has been announced.

Thousands of Britons wait up to six hours to pay respects to Queen Mother Elizabeth at Westminster where her body lies in state. CNN's Robin Oakley reports (April 6)

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Queen Mother


Westminster Hall, where the coffin has been since Friday, will remain open until 6 a.m. (0500 GMT) on Tuesday -- only five hours before it is carried in procession to nearby Westminster Abbey for the funeral service.

Many of those in the Sunday morning queue had waited through the night.

Police are advising visitors to join the rear end of the queue at Blackfriars Bridge, a mile-and-a-half from Westminster. Hundreds more are said to be joining by the hour.

Westminster Hall did close temporarily between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. to allow rehearsals for Tuesday's funeral procession to take place.

When the hall re-opened, some of those waiting were critical they were not told the viewing would close for the rehearsal.

Throughout the weekend, tens of thousands of mourners have poured into London to pay their respects to the Queen Mother who died last Saturday aged 101.

On Saturday, Queen Elizabeth II was said to be "very touched" by the public's desire to pay their last respects to her mother.

Among those who have visited the hall was veteran British actor Sir John Mills, 94, who paused in front of the catafalque bearing the coffin draped in the Queen Mother's Standard and bowed his head for several seconds.

One simple bouquet placed outside Westminster Hall captured something of the bond between the Queen Mother and her public.

Attached to a simple bunch of flowers, the note read: "From one grandmother to another, you leave a big gap in your family and in ours. Never to be replaced, love and miss you always. Love from your home town."

On Sunday, Princes William and Harry recalled their favourite memories of their great-grandmother. (Full story)

The teenage princes told how she had inspired and encouraged them, and made them howl with laughter with her sense of fun and zest for life.

As the tide of people flooded into Westminster, details have been revealed of Tuesday's funeral service. (Full story)

On the eve of the funeral, the Queen Mothers four grandsons -- Prince Charles, his brothers Andrew and Edward, and Viscount Linley -- will mount their own vigil at the coffin.

Among the guests at the following day's funeral service is expected to be Camilla Parker Bowles, the Prince of Wales's partner and a friend of the Queen Mother.

There will be 25 foreign royals at the service, including Prince Albert of Monaco, the King and Queen of Norway, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, the King of Sweden, and the Sultan of Brunei.

Before the service begins, the tenor bell at Westminster Abbey will toll every minute for 101 minutes, and the Queen Mother's coffin will be piped in to the Abbey by 128 pipers and 64 drummers, from 13 regiments.

There will be a ceremonial fly-past by the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight after the funeral.

After the service in Westminster Abbey there will be a private committal service and interment in the George VI Memorial Chapel within St George's Chapel at Windsor.


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